“It is highly probable that differentiation is more critical now than ever before. Indeed, it has become the basis for survival within a globally competitive marketplace where the ten major destinations attract approximately 70% of the worldwide tourism market.” TourismTattler.com
Visitors around the world are searching for the best travel experience, and they have their phone or tablet poised in their hands. According to Sojourn Global Travel Insights, 26% of travel searches in the U.S. occurred on a mobile device, and it’s even higher in other parts of the world:
- Middle East and Asia—38%
- Latin America—34%
Tour operators who expect to grow their businesses now have a powerful tool right at their visitor’s fingertips.
And there’s more good news: the global market for tourism is growing. According to the UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition report, we are experiencing the eighth consecutive year of sustained growth in international tourist arrivals:
UNWTO—Tourism is BIGGER Business:
- International tourist arrivals in destinations around the world totaled 1,326 million—some 86 million more than in 2016.
- International tourist arrivals grew 7% in 2017, the highest increase since 2009.
- International tourism receipts totaled US$1,340 billion, a 4.9% increase.
- Tourism accounts for 1/10 jobs, $1.5 trillion in exports, 10% of world’s GDP, 7% of world’s exports, and 30% of services exports.
World’s Top Tourism Destinations:
- Arrivals in millions — France 86.9, Spain 81.8, USA 76.9, China 60.7
- Largest growth — Turkey at 26.1%, Mexico 12%, Italy 11.2%
- Receipts in US billions — USA $290, Spain $68, France $60.7, Thailand $57.5, UK $51.2
- Growth — Spain 10.3%, Thailand 13.1%, Macao (China) 17.6%, Japan 14.4%
- World’s most visited region — Europe for the 8th year in a row at 672 million visitors, 51% share, US$519 billion, 52 million more visitors than the previous year, showing 8% growth
Technology plays a big part in travel trends: more than half of today’s tourists use mobile phones to search travel options. Recent analysis by Booking.com found that 80% of customers prefer to self-serve in order to get the information that they need. (TechRadar, 2018) Internet-enabled portable devices have gone from a luxury for a few to a way of life for more than one billion people who own smartphones and tablets.
It’s easy to get excited about these figures because they show a continuing trend of growth and opportunity for tour operators. Combined with advanced technology and the power of storytelling to create advocacy and establish differentiation, tour operators can transform their businesses in a powerful way.
What’s your next story?
Want to hear more about how mobile technology can grow your business? AudioConexus is a global leader in audio tour solutions. We’ll provide expert advice, even if we don’t have the solution that’s right for you.
Download the UNWTO report.